Wealdstone 3-1 Ashford Town (Middx)
3 - 1
Stones are in the zone!
Stones are now literally in the zone, laying the Ashford Town bogey to rest and moving up two places with this hard fought win on Tuesday evening, and amazingly now find themselves in a play-off position for the first time this campaign. A goal from midfielder Chris O’Leary early in the first half and a brace from striker Greg Ngoyi in the second period moved Wealdstone into unchartered waters and sent their supporters streaming home dreaming the impossible dream.
In a match that ebbed and flowed, with both sides giving it everything, Stones once again grabbed an early, early lead. Following a real scare for the Stones defence almost from kick-off when Ashford’s Byron Harrison almost got clear, a quick foray up the slope found Chris O’Leary with the chance to half volley a strike on goal. From fully 25 yards the midfield hard man found the net with a wonderful dipping effort that easily beat Tangerines keeper Paul Burgess. The clock showed 4 minutes.
Two minutes later with Stones tails up Kieron Forbes burst into the area but the effort could not be converted. But the away side looked full of running and up for the battle and they countered quickly with a header that was just wide. The tall Harrison again looked a real threat through the middle and Alan Massey and James Gray had to be on full alert throughout.
Stones continued to attack at every opportunity and with Chris O’Leary outstanding with his physical presence in the midfield they continually unsettled an equally physical away side. Lee Chappell’s long throws were causing problems and with nigh on perfect conditions of zero wind factor he was able to gain the distance to bombard the danger zones. Forbes then went another trade mark run – this time through the middle – but was just thwarted at the crucial moment.
Mid half, an almighty tackle from O’Leary of Billy Bremner like proportions brought the first booking – but for the unfortunate visiting recipient who then chopped him down.A lovely move saw a ball from David Hicks for Gray to head into the path of Massey who hooked over. Play was end to end and Stones lead at times looked decidedly fragile as Ashford matched the home side’s high tempo and work rate.
Stones defence had kept Ashford at bay but finally Antony Joseph got clear on the right and unleashed a great strike but Sean Thomas was up to it and saved brilliantly. The half ended with Greg Ngoyi , who had not had much change thus far out of a strong away defence and toiling somewhat with Davis Haule, heading over.
Stones burst into life again at the resumption and immediately relieved the pressure with another quick breakthrough. After only two minutes play a neat Davis Haule flick on found Greg Nyogi who gleefully steered the ball into the net to double their lead. Alan Massey than pounced with a great shot that flew just wide as Stones looked rampant. But Ashford demonstrated their resilience and rocked Stones with a goal on 50 minutes. For once the blues dallied in clearing their lines and Gavin Smith stole in with a shot that was cruelly deflected past Thomas.
This was now a real test for Wealdstone and the pressure was very much back on knowing that a draw was of no use to them and defeat unthinkable. Again the pattern of play was end to end stuff with both sides going full out to gain the ascendancy. Davis Haule was replaced by a fit again Ben Alexander and this seemed to give Stones an edge with his hold up play.
Just when it seemed the home side was beginning to tire they found extra reserves and from another long Chappell throw Massey’s effort was just tipped over for a corner. But in a great little move Stones increased their lead and effectively killed off the Tangerines chances of a result. On 74 minutes Chappell burst into space down the left and fed Greg Ngoyi in the box who passed back and then neatly headed into goal with the return ball .
Carl Martin then made his 100th appearance for Stones when he came on for David Hicks and this further bolstered the midfield although Ashford now looked a spent side having put in a tremendous amount of effort. There was still time for Marvin McCoy to ‘almost’ net the goal of the season with a rasping 30 yard drive in full flow but the ball cannoned back of the post.
Stones now travel to Maidstone United on Saturday (April 4) and will be looking to keep the dream alive as win they must. Exciting times indeed.
Wealdstone: Thomas, McCoy, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Forbes, O’Leary, Haule, Ngoyi, Hicks. Subs used: Alexander, Carl Martin, Spendlove. N/u: Locke, Woods (GK)
MoM: Greg Ngoyi